Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

Rating 9.0/10
An excellent book and wonderfully engrossing read.

The fifth installment in the Harry Potter series sees Harry in his fifth year of Hogwarts; his hardest year yet. It's the end of the summer holidays and after a confrontation with Dudley Dursley and his little gang both Dudley and Harry are attacked by a Dementor, forcing Harry to use a Patronus charm. The Ministry of Magic are quick to charge Harry with the crime of 'underage magic' and it is only with Dumbledore's help and that of the Dursley's neighbour, who is infact a squib (a witch or wizard of pure blood who has no magic ability) and has been looking out for Harry all these years that sees the Ministry clearing Harry of all charges as his hearing.

Presiding at the hearing is Dolores Umbridge an official of the Ministry who is soon ensconced into Hogwarts as the new teacher of dark arts, however, it becomes clear that not only is she there to teach; Ministry approved theory of the subject only, she is there to spy on behalf of the Ministry who continue a smear campaign against Harry, discrediting his pronouncement that Vodemort has returned once more. It soon becomes clear that for all her twee pink cardigans and pictures of fluffy kittens there is nothing cuddly about Dolores. Harry and his friends decide to form 'Dumbledores Army' and meet in the Room of Requirement in order to practice and teach one another defensive spells. It is when this group is discovered that Dumbledore, in order to protect his pupils, takes full blame and then has to flee from the Ministry's clutches, leaving Dolores Umbridge installed as the new Headteacher of Hogwarts. Meanwhile, Voldemort continues to gather more power, and his Death Eaters, to him and Harry's dream link becomes ever stronger. In an attempt to block this Severes Snape tries to teach a method to keep these visions at bay, however, this results in Harry seeing something from Severes' past that both of them wish he hadn't. Unable to control this link, Harry and Dumbledores Army are drawn to the Ministry in order to help Harry's god father, Sirius Black, who Harry has seen being tortoured in a vision by Voldemort, but he is not sure if it isn't a trap and Voldemort has also realised that he and Harry share this connection. There are battles fought and there is a death that Harry cannot prevent happening that shocks everyone. With the Ministry no longer able to keep the news of Voldemorts return a secret both Harry and Dumbledore are exonerated.

"Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses.
"'It is time,' he said, 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry.
"'Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.'"
Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This is the longest book in the series but it is a cracking read, with so much going on and the pace once again picking up from the first page. This book really explores Harry's potential and his past, which opens up more surprises than you would think. The battle scenes are very complex and you may find yourself having to re-read them in order to get your head 'round what is happening, but as always, JK Rowling makes your commitment more than worthwhile. This might be a harder read for younger children than previous books but it is no less enjoyable and continues to build the suspense of the story. There are some wonderful touches, Sirius Black's family home, where Harry, Hermione and Ron hide out when being pursued by the Ministry of Magic being one and we once again see much loved characters such as Remus Lupin. This book is very dark in places and we see that our hero isn't infallable, giving him yet another dimension and allowing us to identify with his struggles. There is humour also so it's certainly not all doom and gloom. An excellent book and wonderfully engrossing read.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix reader reviews

from Cambridge, UK


This (if I remember correctly, I have only read the last three books once) was the book in which the Harry Potter series really took a big mis-step. I really enjoyed the first three and the fourth was okay but this one just never really interested me. There are two simple reasons for this. First, all the things that I loved about the series (Quidditch, School of Magic, House Cup etc.) really all the things that made the first books good childrens reads disappeared or faded into the background. The books tried to age their target audience and in doing so lost the charming nature that made them fun to read. This was acceptable however, the format of the early books would have become boring if eternally repeated. What I have never forgiven this book and indeed the series for was having a really painful main character to read. In this book Harry really drops down to being a one dimensional character and that dimension is ANGST! Again this would have been fine except that he is the only point of of view character. It means we are forced to endure all of his tedious character struggles for the entire book without any relief at all. I suppose if you subscribe to the idea that all teenagers are actually like this then fair enough, but I like a little more nuance to the POV.

from Ukraine


My favorite book ever! It is so much about inner insecurities and fear for people we love it actually hurts. And it makes you think about your personal daemons from your past - how would you fight them? It is the part of the Harry Potter journey I love most of all!

from London, UK


This book is absolutely thrilling! It is full of adventure and takes you on a broomstick of a ride, through the evil darkness... a great book full of greatness and frustrating suspense.. 8/10!!! DEFINITELY

from Sheffield


This is the best of all the Harry Potter books, the ever winding plot is superb. I like this book more than the rest because I find it darker than the other 6 and I think that adding and edge to the story adds extra suspense. The end is great as Dumbledore's army is forced to fight the evil that makes this my favourite, and darkest Harry Potter book.

7.8/10 from 5 reviews

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